DIXFIELD — Oak Hill made it eight wins in a row Monday with a 4-0 MVC baseball victory over Dirigo. 

Coach Chad Stowell said that confidence has turned the Raiders’ season around after they opened with four straight losses.

“We lost our first four and bounced back,” Stowell said. “I think it has a lot to do with confidence. We came back in the first (win) to beat Winthrop, and sometimes you just need a morale booster to break the ice. We did that and we were able to bounce back, and we’re playing very confident baseball.”

Over the first three innings, Dirigo (7-6) pitcher Charlie Houghton struck out seven batters, including a rare four-strikeout first inning.

The Raiders (8-4) weren’t getting a lot going at the plate, but they were keeping the Cougars off the bases as well. Oak Hill starter Ethan Vattaso pitched 3 1/3 innings, striking out five batters and giving up just one hit.

Vattaso said the team was down after losing the first four games of the season, and that Stowell and the coaching staff told the players to keep their heads up. 


The Raiders persevered again Monday, and, in the fourth inning, their bats came alive.

Kyle Delano opened the inning with a double. Two batters later, Grayson Letourneau singled to right field to score Delano for a 1-0 Oak Hill lead.

Cooper Spencer and Jackson Arbour both walked to load the bases for Vattaso.

Before Vattaso stepped to the plate, Dirigo replaced Houghton on the mound with Trenton Hutchinson. Vatasso hit a double into deep right field to score two more runs and put Oak Hill ahead 3-0. 

“It felt great. When you’re a pitcher you want to help yourself out,” Vattaso said. “The bottom of the order stepped up and got on base, and then Jackson Arbour got the big walk there. Then they brought in a new pitcher, and I knew he’d throw strikes, so I was ready and it was right down the middle.”

To preserve Vattaso’s pitch count for later in the week — Oak Hill expects to play a couple more games this week — he was relieved by Arbour in the bottom of the fourth inning with one our and two runners on base.


Dirigo loaded the bases, then Arbour got out of the jam with back-to-back strikeouts, keeping the Raiders’ lead at 3-0 after four innings. 

Arbour forced a 1-2-3 inning in the fifth inning. In the sixth, Hutchinson walked to start the inning for Dirigo. He stole second base, and later tried to steal third but Wyatt Smith hit a fly ball into right field that was caught by Caden Thompson, who threw it in to second base for a double play.

“I mean, that’s a huge play. Caden is a really heads-up outfielder, and probably one of the better defensive outfielders around and had the awareness to not hesitate,” Stowell said. “Between that and (two innings) before, when they had the bases loaded and we got two strikeouts to get out of it, it was huge.”

After the double play, Trent Holman singled and stole two bases to reach third. Next up was Drew Collins, who walked but then was picked off by Arbour at first base to end the inning. 

“They’ve had our number,” Dirigo coach Bob Karcher said. “They beat us a week ago (7-3 on May 17) and they have a good pitching staff. It’s hard to win when you don’t plate runners. We had the (fourth) inning where we had bases loaded, one out, then the (sixth) inning where we get picked off and the double play. That’s just how it went today, nothing really went well. We fielded well, played well and just couldn’t plate guys.”

Charlie and Hutchinson both pitched good games, but they seem to be a tough matchup,” Karcher added. “Hopefully in the playoffs we see them and maybe it’s a different outcome.”

Oak Hill added an insurance run in the seventh inning when Trent Drouin hit a double and was driven home two batters later on a single by Delano to make it 4-0.

Stowell said the veteran players have been crucial to the Raiders’ eight-game winning streak.

“We have a lot of guys that have played a lot of baseball,” Stowell said. “Caden, a senior; Jackson, a senior; Ethan, a junior. They don’t feel pressure in those situations, and they just know what to do and they execute.”

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